Always remain focused and die with the lie. That is the main theme for Will Smith’s new movie Focus also starring Australia’s Margot Robbie. Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa and also starring Rodrigo Santoro.
Aging con- man and lifelong grifter Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) is quietly enjoying a meal on his own when the young and beautiful Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie) a rather green grifter herself fails in her attempt to seduce him and steal his wallet. He agrees to take her under his wing and teach her the tricks of the trade. They head down to New Orleans where he tutors her in the art of pick pocketing and small time cons. At the end of the job he unceremoniously dumps her after she begins to fall in love with him.
Fast forward there years and Nicky is contracted for a really large con, probably the biggest of his career. Down in Buenos Aires he arrives to work for billionaire motorsport Rafael Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro) to set up a sting to beat Australian businessman McEwan (Robert Taylor) and win the championship. It’s all set to go ahead when in walks Jess, who is now Garriga’s girlfriend.
Nicky begins to pursue Jess again and as it unfolds an unknowing Jess is bound up in the con in a complex web of deceit. The con unfolds to a surprising complex twist in the end, leaving Jess and the viewer a little perplexed.
Whilst the movie is enjoyable enough it really doesn’t have a strong climax or story that is overly strong. It’s a pretty much go- nowhere movie that leaves little to have to think about in the end. Will Smith is his usual adept self, and is enjoyable enough to watch. Margot Robbie is not much more than a pretty face and really is a bit young to be believable to be a love interest for the aging Will Smith. For her to be believable in roles she needs to be cast alongside younger male actors as she looks a little foolish playing alongside would be sugar- daddies.
The movie does at times try to be unpredictable but it really does not have overly surprising twists and turns. It glides along at a reasonable pace, but does not prove any points or make any great statements. It’s descent enough but there are more enjoyable ways to spend an hour and forty five minutes other than this movie.